Alzheimer's Disease - A Month Long Series - Part One Statistics

 

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan helped to generate awareness of Alzheimer’s disease by declaring November National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Eleven years later, at the age of 83, he announced to the nation, via a handwritten letter, that he had been diagnosed with this illness, writing in part.

“I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease... At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done... I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.”

Ten years following his diagnosis, the former President would succumb to Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 93.

Unfortunately, former President Ronald Reagan’s plight with Alzheimer’s disease is experienced by millions of individuals annually. The statistics are sobering. In 2013, approximately 5.2 million Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, of which 5 million are age 65 and older. This is expected to increase exponentially as the baby-boomers age. It is estimated by 2025, 7.1 million people, age 65 and older, will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If this trajectory continues, barring the advancement of pharmacological and/or other medical treatments, by 2050, 13.8 million individuals will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, nearly tripling in numbers.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in United States overall. For individuals aged 65 and older, it is the fifth leading cause of death. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “It is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression. Deaths from Alzheimer's increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases, including the number one cause of death (heart disease), decreased. While ambiguity about the underlying cause of death can make it difficult to determine how many people die from Alzheimer's, there are no survivors. If you do not die from Alzheimer's disease, you die with it. One in every three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another dementia.”

For additional information related to Alzheimer’s disease go to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org